L'événement culturel de l'été à Bruxelles!
She did wonderful things for chorus people. For Coco she bought the entire chorus new shoes because the company couldn't afford to buy them."
Garon Kanin – An Intimate Memoir – 1971
"The Mark Hellinger turned out to be extremely difficult to get to, and the Wednesday matinees were nightmares, or perhaps it is more correct to say day-mares.
The company did its best to work against the noise of the neighboring enterprise, but large sections of the audience, particularly those on the left side of the house and toward the rear, had a tough time.
Kate, as Coco, had several numbers in the first act: The World Belongs to the Young, Mademoiselle Cliché de Paris, On the Corner of Rue Cambon and The Money Rings Out Like Freedom, that she was able to belt out successfully, even against the racket. But toward the end of Act One, came a delicate scene with the memory of Coco’s father (projected on a screen behind her) during which she sand the moving title song Coco.
At the first matinee, Kate found it impossible to perform the number properly in the overwhelming presence of the noise from across the street.
The following Wednesday, she rearrange her schedule, and left for the theater an hour early. She went directly to the Uis construction site, found the supervisor's trailer, and asked to see him. He was out on the structure somewhere, but Kate made the matter seem so urgent that an assistant led her out onto the job.
Wearing the mandatory hard hat, she found herself facing the supervisor.
'Look here,' she shouted. 'My name is Katharine Hepburn and I work across the street.'
The astonished supervisor gasped at her. 'Holy Smoke!' he said. 'What the hell are you doing up here?'
'I have to talk to you,' said Kate. 'What?'
'I have to talk to you,' she shouted. ‘Okay. Come on down. Watch your step. How the hell did you get up here, anyway?'
In the supervisors trailer, he smoothed his hair and asked, 'Can I give you a cup of coffee, Miss Hepburn?'
'Sure,' she said, 'but I want more than that out of you.'
'Well, look,' she said. 'I know you’ve got to build this building but – on the other hand – we've got to give a show over there – I know we can't ask you to stop – but at least you can help us out – if you want to.'
'There is one main spot,' Kate explained carefully, 'It's my Coco number. You know. With papa.'
'Oh, sure,' he said, mesmerized. (Hepburnized)
'Well on Wednesdays,' Kate continued, 'that number starts at three-oh-five and goes on until about three-fourteen – so just for that little piece of time – couldn't you possibly hold the hammers?'
'Well, Jeez, I don't know how, Miss Hepburn,' said the supervisor.
'Sure you could,' urged Kate. 'Give them a coffee break or something. I'll pay for the coffee.'
'Yeah,' he said, 'but who will pay for the time? You know what there guys get, don't you?'
Kate gave him The Hepburn Look, and said softly, 'You can do it if you want to.'
He took at deep breath and said, 'I don't know, but lemme see what I can figure out here.'
'You are sweet,' said Kate and went across the street to make up.
At 3:05 that afternoon, as the introduction to her soft number began, the world outside fell suddenly silent. The audience may not have been aware of the abrupt change, but everyone connected with the Coco company was. The dancers, the singers, the orchestra, and the crew. Some of those who were momentarily free steeped out into the street to see what had happened.
Up and down the structure they saw the workers signaling for silence and looking at their watches, At 3:14 PM the applause for the number was all at once augmented by all hell breaking loose across the street. In the darkness of the scene change, Kate was able to allow the radiant smile, which she had kept hidden in her rib cage, to burst forth on her face.
She went over to thank the men after the matinee, but their day’s work had ended, so she made a special trip over the following day to clamber all over the job, thanking her new friends. So it went for week after week. Every Wednesday at the specified time, the construction gang gave Kate a gift of silence.
Then came the afternoon when a Consolidated Edison crew, not connected with the Uris construction, turned up on the corner to make a cable repair. At 3:05 when the building work stopped, the uniformed Con Edison crew continued. Whereupon, from every part of the structure, the shouts cam raining down.
'Hey, hold the noise, you guys!'
'Shut up down there, Katie’s on!'
'Hey, what’s a matter with you bastards? Don’t you know Katie is doing her number?'
In addition to the hollering and yelling, an ad hoc committee went dashing over to enforce the admonition. At the end of the matinee, Kate was handed a note from the supervisor, explaining that the short burst of noise at the beginning of her number was '....not us, but that crazy Con Edison which we have now straightened out.'"
Garon Kanin – An Intimate Memoir – 1971
"The curtain call. A second standing ovation. Kate is visibly moved and in tears. Kate makes a speech in which she says, 'This is all very moving and very confusion – to stop something in the middle.' She goes on to say how much she owes Alan Jay Lerner for having faith in her and about what it meant to have people believe in you. She thanks 'Roger Evans, who is dead,' and 'Sue Seton, who worked with me every day.' She says 'And all these people standing here behind me have given me the support and faith and even the love that I needed.' There are shouts from the audience. Finally she shrugs and says, 'Well – I love you and you love me and let's leave it at that.'"